A man of Indian origin, identified as Rajinder Pal Singh (also known as Jaspal Gill), has been apprehended by law enforcement authorities for his alleged involvement in smuggling over 800 Indian nationals into the United States. The unique aspect of this case is that Singh purportedly utilised the popular ride-hailing application, Uber.
Singh, a resident of California, has been sentenced to more than three years in prison after confessing his participation and pleading guilty in February. According to the PTI report, he acknowledged being a key member of a smuggling network responsible for bringing hundreds of Indian citizens across the US-Canada border. The Department of Justice disclosed this information through a press release.
Following his crimes, which include charges of Conspiracy to Transport and Harbour Certain Aliens for Profit and Conspiracy to Commit Money Laundering, Singh was handed a 45-month prison term by a US District Court. Acting US Attorney Tessa M Gorman remarked that Singh arranged for the illegal entry of over 800 individuals into the United States within a span of four years.
The report indicates that the smugglers crossed the US-Canada border into Washington State. Gorman emphasised that Singh’s actions not only posed a significant security threat but also endangered the lives of the smuggled individuals during their arduous journey from India to the United States.
Exploiting the aspirations of Indian nationals seeking a better life in the United States, Singh played a significant role in a smuggling conspiracy that burdened them with exorbitant debts, some amounting to $70,000.
This illicit operation involved Singh and his co-conspirators utilising the ride-hailing platform Uber to transport individuals who had illegally crossed the border from Canada to the Seattle area. Between mid-2018 and May 2022, Singh orchestrated more than 600 trips for smuggled Indian nationals entering the US.
Investigations have estimated that the smuggling ring’s 17 Uber accounts accumulated charges exceeding $80,000 from July 2018 to April 2022. To transport the smuggled individuals to their intended destinations beyond Washington state, Singh, and his associates relied on one-way vehicle rentals. These journeys typically commenced in the early hours near the border and were split among multiple rides.
In addition to their smuggling activities, Singh and his co-conspirators engaged in sophisticated money laundering techniques to obscure their illicit proceeds. Authorities uncovered approximately $45,000 in cash and counterfeit identification documents at one of Singh’s residences in California.
Given that Singh does not possess legal status in the United States, it is likely that he will face deportation once he completes his prison sentence, as detailed in the report.